Three hundred eighty million bad eggs will end up as the prime suspects in many a court case before this all over.
That’s the new number–380 million–after Iowa’s Wright County Egg late Wednesday expanded its original Aug. 13 recall of 228 million eggs for possible Salmonella enteritidis contamination. Even before the 152 million egg expansion to 380 million eggs, one television network had already claimed this is the largest food recall “in a generation.”
The first lawsuit involving the eggs was filed against Wright County Egg in Wisconsin as consumer interest spiked about the national egg scare.
And the New York Times reported that Wright County Egg is owned by Jack DeCoster, “who has had run-ins with regulators over poor or unsafe working conditions, environmental violations, the harassment of workers and the hiring of illegal immigrants.”
With each American eating about 250 eggs a year–including both shell eggs and egg products–it’s no surprise that interest in this recall and outbreak is high.
But with U.S. producers providing as many as 6.4 billion eggs in a single month, we won’t go without–no matter whether we like them scrambled or over-easy.
A Wisconsin woman became the first to sue Wright County Egg Wednesday when she added the company to an existing lawsuit against Baker Street Restaurant and Pub in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Tanja Dzinovic, who was treated at a hospital for a Salmonella enteritidis infection after dining at Baker Street, claims the restaurant “purchased and used in the manufacture of its menu items Salmonella-contaminated shell eggs subject to defendant Wright County Egg’s Aug. 16, 2010 recall.”
Baker Street was closed by the Kenosha County Health Department last July 13 after a “restaurant cluster” Salmonella enteritidis outbreak involving about 30 confirmed cases.
Like others, Dzinovic ate a variety of menu items while dining at Baker Street on June 18, 2010, including a California Cobb Salad that included hard-boiled eggs.
The Kenosha outbreak is not alone in being connected to the bad eggs. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has tracked the growing outbreak since May and there are now at least several hundred confirmed cases of Salmonella associated with the egg outbreak in Minnesota, Colorado and California.
Wright’s initial recall has been joined by at least one of its major wholesale buyers, NuCal Foods, which added five more brand names to the list of eggs that consumers should avoid. The complete list of brand names now includes:
Eggs were packaged and re-packaged in varying size cartons. Julian dates range from 135 to 225 and plant numbers include 1026, 1091, 1413, 1686, 1946, and 1951. Dates and codes can be found stamped on the end of the egg carton.
The plant number begins with the letter P and then the number. The Julian date follows the plant number, for example: P-1946 223.
The recall covers all shell eggs produced by Wright between May 16 and Aug. 13, 2010.
Also on Wednesday, Chicago-based Dutch Farms Inc. charged that Wright used its egg cartons to package and sell eggs under the Dutch Farms name without its knowledge. It said the unauthorized Dutch Farms eggs were distributed to Walgreens in Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota and Arkansas.
“We will do everything in our power to make this right,” said Dutch Farms President Brian Boomsma. “It’s just a shame that a farm in Iowa with whom we have no association, can cause so many to be so concerned.”
Anyone who purchased Dutch Farms eggs at Walgreens should check the side of the package for the following plant numbers: P1026, P1413 and P1946. Return the package to Walgreens for a full refund.
Retailers were fast to remove the eggs from their shelves, but consumers were warned to check their egg supplies at home. Any eggs on the recall list may be returned to the store where they were purchased for a full refund. The recall is for shell eggs only.